had long enjoyed the advantage of various public service abroad as well as at home, and could speak for an indefinite length of time on any question; but nothing ever came from him which was not prosaic and commonplace.
was a brilliant man, the one brilliant representative of the South and Southwest.
He had been a partisan of freedom in the Old World, as he would probably have been in the New
but for his slaveholding environment.
recognized in him ‘the impersonation of nobility and chivalry,’ and even hoped that he might become the Southern
leader of emancipation.1
The mass of the senators did not in original faculties or training or aspirations deserve to rank with statesmen.
Some of them, born in the last century, had passed most of their life in office,—as Berrien
; but neither in speech nor act did they leave any impression on our history.
Their training was generally that of lawyers practising in local courts; and their studies, if extended beyond what was necessary for the trial of cases in which they were retained, were limited to the history of American politics, or at most included a single reading of Hume
They knew well the art of looking after local interests, of flattering State pride, of serving blindly the party; and they were expert in ministering to the fears, the prejudices, the jealousy, and the self-interest of their section.3
If Southerners, they supported the demands of the slaveholding interest without question; if Northerners, they supported any compromise with slavery which was agreed upon as essential to party success.
It has been the custom of statesmen in different periods to enrich and diversify public life with studies in science, the ancient classics, or modern literature; but not to force a comparison with any eminent names in English or French history, it is doing no injustice to the senators of the thirty-second Congress to say that there was nothing in their speeches to suggest that they followed as exemplars John Adams
and Thomas Jefferson
, Edward Livingston